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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20218
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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Both my dogs chase Cyclists in high-vis jackets. The dogs are

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Both my dogs chase Cyclists in high-vis jackets. The dogs are brothers, one being quiet and the other being painfully shy. They are both 5years old. They are both loving dog, but this problem is slowly getting worse. Could you advise please.
Hi JaCustomer,
My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.
The dogs are off lead when this occurs?
How much obedience training have they had?
Do they chase other cyclists?
Is one dog more likely to start the "chase"?
What have you been doing or have done when this occurs?
Is leashing them all you have tried so far?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Jane. In answer to your questions on my dogs behaviour on seeing vis vests & cyclists.

The dogs are off leads when this situation occurs. But they will run a good few hundred yards across a field to get to the cyclists. When they get to the cyclist they stand off a few yards & bark continuously. The first dog to see the cyclist will take off, with the other in close pursuit. I have no fears that they would attack anybody, but I dont want any accidents or cyclists getting hurt falling off. They didnt have much obedience training.We joined a local puppy class, but had to stop going because they were disruptive. They wanted to play all the time. But over a period of time they have become quite obedient. They will come when called or whistled. They will sit on command, and stay on request except,when they see a cyclist with a vis jacket. As regards what we do when we get to the dogs, Leash them,apologise to the victim. They also get no treats for the rest of the day. They are not bad dogs and we love them dearly, but we have a problem we want to do something about before a cyclist or one of our dogs gets hurt. We would be grateful for any advice you could give to us. Thank you jb.

Actually it sounds like it might not be that hard to correct but I think you are going to need to do a lot of training. The top dog will need to be trained first without the other, then the other dog will need to be trained the same way. After that, you will need to retrain them again together. They tend to slip back into old patterns when put back together. when you try and do it with both dogs together, it is too difficult to watch both dogs and provide the reprimand and positive reinforcement in a timely manner.
What you will need to do is put the one dog on a very light weight long leash. You will need to set up the situation where the dog will chase after the person. This will entail having someone with that type of vest on a bike. Have them go by in the distance. As long as your dog ignores them, you can give your dog praise and a treat. I suggest paper thin hot dog slices or liver slivers. Normal treats don't cause them to work as hard as these special treats.
The second you see your dog fixate on the cyclist or show any other sign of aggression (hair standing up, etc.) give your dog a correction by giving a short tug and a firm low toned "NO". It shouldn't take your dog long to realize you will not tolerate the behavior and that if he ignores the cyclist, he gets treats. Once this happens you can repeat the training moving closer until your dog is no longer trying to chase the cyclist. You will need to practice this when you and your dog are walking as well.
It is likely going to take a lot of time but is the best way to stop the behavior and keep it under control. You need to be consistent and keep them leashed until the training is done. You do not want to give them the opportunity to chase the cyclist until training is done. That will set training back.
Some trainers would suggest a remote training collar. As well as you have done with training on your own, I think you can accomplish this without a training collar. If you do go with a collar, they do make training collars that use citronella spray in conjunction with a tone instead of just the shock version. With the collar, you would use it as a reprimand when the dog doesn't obey you. Most owners find it is best to start with the come command and if the dog does not listen, use the correction button on the training collar. The collar then emits a tone before shocking or spraying.
It is done like this so that the dog starts associating the tone with the correction so that you can start using the tone only mode once they have some training with the collar. Most dogs when shocked or sprayed automatically return to their owner which is why I suggested using it with the "come" command. I have used the shock version for long recall as some models allow recall of dogs a mile away and once trained, you can just hit the tone only button to call them back in. This can be handy for dogs that you lose site of in the woods or while hunting.
Give this a try. I think you will find training works well for your dog. I also want to give you a great site that teaches you how to train your dogs. It has sections on tracking and other commands that might help provide your dogs with additional stimulation. T Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience and other subjects at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.
Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.
I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
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